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Council Pushes Fostering To Beat Bedroom Tax

Thursday 28th March 2013

Nick Clegg is criticising Ealing Council after it sent a flyer to people in social housing, recommending they foster a child to make up for a cut in benefits.

ealing foster leaflet

From Monday those with one or more spare rooms will face a reduction in housing benefits - the so called "bedroom tax".

Lisa called the Deputy Prime Minsiter during his weekly Call Clegg phone in show on LBC 97.3.

"I'm concerned about the fact that Ealing Council can suggest to make up for the difference in your housing benefits - to take in a foster child," she explained.

"Foster children are obviously there because of the circumstances. People are going to take in a foster child just to make ends meet!"

The Deputy Prime Minister responded by criticising the move. He said: "I think it is not right for Ealing Council to take what was an exemption that we announced a couple of weeks ago where we said foster families will not be covered by this and then to use that to go around locally and say 'why don't you turn yourself into a foster family?'".

The leaflet reads:
Are you a tenant or resident that will be affected by the changes to housing benefit?

From 1st April 2013, if you rent a council or housing association home and you have one or more spare bedrooms your housing benefit may be reduced.

If you are in this postion, then you could think about using your spare room to foster.

Foster children are not counted as part of your household for housing benefit purposes.

Fostering is caring for a child or young person in your home when they are unable to stay with their own families.

There are many reason to foster with Ealing Council, we provide excellent support and all the training you will need as well as paying your a competitive allowance.

Be There, Be an Ealing Foster Carer 

In a statement, Ealing Council told LBC 97.3: “We want as many people as possible to consider fostering  and recognise welfare benefit changes may have appeared to be a barrier to some families who could become  potential foster parents.

"Until recently foster families were not exempt from the changes regarding spare bedrooms so we produced a leaflet to explain the position.  There is a significant shortage of foster carers, nationally and locally and we want as many people as possible to think about providing a home to a child who needs a family.

"We have a very rigorous assessment process and if financial gain was the sole motivation the applicant would not be approved."

What do you think? Is Ealing wrong to suggest people should take in a foster child in order to get round the bedroom tax?